Personal experience: gaming peripherals

    Hello GT! Recently, I have accumulated enough pieces of iron about which to write a separate article somehow ... the information line is not enough, but to tell about all of them in one small material is the very thing.

    Today we will talk about headset headsets (SteelSeries and Creative) and gamepads (Xbox One and Mad Catz LYNX9). Go?

    Headphones & Headsets

    It so happened that I have been using Creative products for a very long time and more or less overgrown with their gadgets. Speakers - both portable ones (like the first generation Roar I still use), as well as stationary T4 WIreless, countless different headphones and headsets that have passed through my hands, devices and ears, sound cards and other transonic gadgets.

    Draco HS-880 and Draco HS-850

    The Sound BlasterX series of headsets somehow passed me by, but I am well acquainted with the new Draco line. If in the “older” Tactic 3D models, the emphasis is on the virtual surround sound system (which does a good job!), The ability to connect via USB / wirelessly / via classic 3.5 mm analog jacks), then Draco is a product focused primarily on “ take with you".

    A detachable microphone, a classic design, a steel bracket inside the headband, strong enough swivel cup mounts (this time really successful, and not the horror that is installed on the premium ZxR) ... In general, the headphones can not only work as a standard gaming headset, forever tied to a fixed desktop, but it’s also quite a thing to be an everyday decision. An adapter for a classic 3.5 mm jack (with a four-pin pin!) - and a gaming headset can be safely stuck into a smartphone, and working with modern gaming laptops that increasingly get a combined connector instead of two “normal” ones will not cause any problems.

    The headphone cups turn without problems, so carelessly thrown in a backpack (along with a laptop, yeah) “ears” will not turn into a set of hi-tech garbage through two stops in the Moscow metro. For half a year, nothing happened with the headset, in spite of regular trips in a backpack and bag: I, of course, try to treat the technique with care, but put the headphones in a separate hard case before transporting ... well, in general, it smacks of insanity, especially considering their price.

    As for the sound quality - a typical game model with a “faceless” sound: to the soft and enveloping sound of Aurvana Live! 2, which copes equally well with HiFi-class sources, and with “smart phone” audio chips due to its successful design and thoughtful filling, of course, long away.

    At the same time, there is nothing criminal in sounding: you want LF - you take and wind them in the equalizer. Love clinking tops - no question. Just make a correction for the dollar rate and the total price of the device (and also for the main user cases): you should not expect the Bolshoi Theater audio panorama from the headphones.

    The microphone is narrowly directional, analog, without any kind of multi-channel digital noise reduction and LEDs. It just works, it does not cause any complaints, because of its narrow focus it does not suck in external sounds, the voice transmits normally. In general, this statement can be extended to the entire headset: it works, it does not cause any complaints. It’s not bad assembled, it looks good (the game line, after all), and even in the conditions of not very favorable exchange rates for buying electronics, the price can be called reasonable.

    The younger brother of the headset, the HS-850, in my opinion, looks even more interesting in terms of design (especially in promo pictures), but it is an even more utilitarian product than the HS-880.

    If the older model can be used as ... headphones for every day, listen to music and play toys, the younger one sounds absolutely inexpressive, but it is not expensive and is great for some team shooters. The sound source detects, in-game events, and, most importantly, with voice communication problems 0 point 0, and more, often, such models are not required.

    Creative SB Jam

    JAM is a super-light headset for morning jogging, chatting on Skype and using ... and here's the catch. This is where you would use a headset, whose main advantages are weightlessness (you really have to wear it for half a day on your head and not think that you are wearing headphones), the ability to hear the world around you, without removing / moving it from your ears, and working without wires? After all, this is where all her bonuses end. Sound quality is exactly what for morning jogging or listening to podcasts / calls on Skype: there are no low frequencies, there is no sound clarity, there is almost no sound insulation: hear a bicycle ring from behind, and the pant chug of a bull terrier catching you, and colleagues at the office.

    In general, a product with a use-case incomprehensible to me personally, but quite good from the point of view of “a headset for transmitting sounds” and “wear all day”. It is really possible to run in it, and it does not fall off the head. You can really spend all day in it, and in the evening, when the headset goes on recharging, your skull will not say to you "thank you for removing this vice from me." That, perhaps, is all.

    SteelSeries Siberia Elite V2 (PRISM)

    In the market of “gaming” peripherals, any mastodons who came from the time of “classical” technology sooner or later have to deal with the fact that manufacturers of mice and keyboards are also not averse to expand their audience. Razer, SteelSeries, Mad Catz and other large companies are fierce struggle for the minds of the wallets of video games fans, sponsored cyber events and teams, so that every Creative and other Sennheiser way or another have staklivatsya with those who came to the "game sound" with another entry : from gaming mice, keyboards, carpets and all that.

    SS Siberia is a famous line-up, and one of the latest incarnations of the Elite-version has captured the best practices of SteelSeries in this area. Firstly, the headset is “modular”: one cable can connect both two jacks of 3.5 mm each and one, or you can plug into a small external USB sound card. Solid profit. Another would be a Type-C connector - and there would be a complete set of interfaces. True, sticking this white beauty into a smartphone is still a pleasure. The headset can hardly be called weightless: 400 grams is 400 grams, but thanks to the competent design of a metal self-regulating headband and the good shape of the ear cushions (the foam material inside should, according to the manufacturer, provide a memory effect and “be trimmed” under your unique ears over time). Specifically, I have a PRISM version with customizable backlighting.

    A retractable microphone is hidden in the left cup. On it, the rotary segment determines whether it is turned on or off. In the right cup, a similar “twist” controls the volume. Simple, convenient, works with any wire. The unobtrusive backlight in USB mode looks gorgeous (although it is not really needed in general), and it’s difficult to find fault with the appearance of the headset, except that the white color can always change with due luck: I try to be careful about the technique and don’t smoke, but that’s what’s going to happen with the headsets of those who like to poke cigarettes all over the apartment, sitting at the monitor — this is an open question. And the constant transportation in a backpack or some other bag obviously will not make the headset cleaner. But there are no questions regarding the durability: the headset can withstand all the hardships of a "campus" life without problems, if, of course,

    As for the sound, everything is ambiguous here. In games and films, no complaints. The special effects are juicy, the party members are heard perfectly, everything is hurt. In music, you will have to compensate for the specific tuning by an equalizer. The headset does not have a lot of mid frequencies, rock can be listened to on a “flat” profile, minimal adjustments will be required for jazz and classical music, more or less nothing sounds. But lighter genres and all kinds of electronic equipment can be completely unpredictable, so only the selection of characteristics that suit you experimentally will help here. However, the headset was conceived primarily as a “gaming” and maybe “cinematic” one, taking it to mainly listen to music and occasionally use it for its intended purpose is a dubious pleasure (especially if you go to Yandex.Market and look at the price),

    Well, since this is gaming peripherals from SS, you can not help but mention software. All major players in this field strive to make a universal control panel. It turns out differently. Razer was one of the first to make its own Synapse and add all cloudiness to it, but their software personally works for me through a stump deck. Not always, not everywhere, not 100% - in general, it seems that this is an early beta version of software and hardware bundles, and not a serial product with serial software. I have no such complaints about the software from SteelSeries: even if from a design point of view there is some ... mess, it works as it should. I put the SS engine, connected the mouse - it started up. I stuck the divine Apex M800 - everything is as it should. Added a headset - well, you understand, no problem.

    Game controllers

    Mad Catz LYNX9

    A lot can be said about this thing, but 90% of the words can be replaced by the expression "Mad Catz in his repertoire: excellent hardware and raw software." The LYNX series is universal mobile gamepads for working with a computer and smartphones based on Android, the figure distinguishes the level of configuration and the ability to customize the device, and in the flagship "nine" in this regard, everything is simply spectacular!

    The delivery set is like in the best times of the PC era: you do not need to buy anything for 9.99, 19.99 and other .99 evergreens. You buy everything at once. The kit includes: the base controller module, keyboard, tablet module, additional panels to improve the grip of the controller, smartphone mount and bag for transportation.

    The number and location of the controls - like on the classic sixaxis or PS4 controller (the latter, perhaps, will be even closer), adjusted for the absence of accelerometers: they are in the smartphone itself. But the microphone itself is built into the gamepad. What for? Oh, don't ask. I dont know.

    The modularity is amazing: the device can be naturally disassembled into spare parts. And then install them on the tablet frame. There have been no tablets at my house for a year now, so a photograph with the most spade device that was found in the bins of the motherland.

    According to the documentation, anything with a diagonal of up to 7-8 inches will fit here. The smartphone “holder” can easily cope with mainstream 5 and 5.5 inch gadgets, but its form raises questions for me. Do you guys know that there are buttons on the side of the phone, and they often get to the exact place where the clip presses on you? : D

    There is, of course, a way out - either mount the phone with an offset, or change the device. But this is not serious, for all the breadth of the “basic” supply, one could count on various “rubber bands” or “spacers” for the crab clamping the gadget.

    The smartphone application allows you to very flexibly adjust the sensitivity and behavior of sticks, layout, touch trackpad operation mode. The desktop application, in theory, is no worse, but connecting the device to a PC and making it work normally is another quest. Firstly, in XInput, the device seems to be able (judging by the item in the settings), but at the same time it can’t, if you version the support documentation on the site. Of course, there is always an option to use the X360CE-wrapper from directinput mode, but this is, again, crutches. Perhaps they will add in the next firmware, as was the case with the previous product - CTRLR

    Okay, back to the hardware. It is simply excellent. Everything is assembled perfectly, nothing crunches and does not creak, all the details are fitted and de-al-but, this high-tech lego sandwich is disassembled and assembled for the players simply amazing.

    The accuracy of sticks and triggers easily competes with one of the best gamepads in the industry (the one that comes with the PS4). Perhaps I would call LYNX9 the best game controller of all that I had if not for its price. $ 250 for the ability to turn any smartphone into an Nvidia Shield? Unfortunately, Shield itself is cheaper. And the PS4 gamepad + mount to it (and it connects through the usual one, its mother, Bluetooth, just like Lynx) will also come out cheaper. And connecting it to a PC has about the same amount of hemorrhoids: it works similarly through dinput and you have to configure the wrapper library.

    The only non-alternative mode is tablet. There are simply no competitors like “build it yourself from what you have at home”, but are there so many Android games that can fully unlock the potential of this amazing piece of hardware? LYNX9 is ahead of its time, is difficult to connect to a PC and stands like a wing from a Boeing. It is unlikely that dizzying success in the market awaits him, but Mad Catz has much more budget models of the same controller. With not so rich equipment, with simple body materials, but an absolutely reasonable price. In general, an excellent product, pleasing with the delivery set, and with the workmanship, and with the scope of the idea, which is unlikely to succeed in the face of the economic crisis: we are not only talking about the ruble exchange rate. It is unlikely that players in other countries will be happy to buy a piece of iron for $ 240,

    An honorary medal for quality and idea, respect for developers from Mad Catz, who were able to bring the modular device to mass production, and whether I am right or not in terms of popularity - let the market decide.

    Xbox One Elite Controller

    On GT, a review of the basic version of the Xbox One gamepad was already flickered , and in general, the impressions of communicating with the “normal” version are more likely negative. Build quality and enjoyment of the game were approximately at the same level. Well, Microsoft decided to work on the bugs by releasing THIS :

    Perfectly built. It lies perfectly in the hand. Excellent materials. Customizable sticks, replaceable crosspiece, additional 4 buttons “at the bottom” of the device.

    Plus the ability to switch the trigger from "analog" to short-speed "digital" mode and vice versa, which allows you to "shoot" from semi-automatic weapons in toys at breakneck speed. I had this thing only a couple of evenings, but so far this is the best gamepad of all that I held in my hands. True, there is one small problem.It also costs 250 bucks . As kutensky correctly noted , the price is now only $ 150. At the same time, it does not connect to phones, does not disassemble into parts, and in general it’s just a Xinput gamepad, whose user in network shooters will still be forced by the mouse and keyboard user.

    If you are a fan of playing lying on the couch with a gamepad, you have an Xbox One or PC, and you have nowhere to put 150-200 dollars - it’s just a musthave. He, like some Bugatti Chiron, is the best in everything. Luxurious, comfortable, accurate and fast. And it costs about the same. : D

    That's it for today. Next week I’ll tell you about, perhaps, the most useless computer hardware venture I have ever had, and how surprisingly it turned out to be a completely working version of this useless venture.

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